1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

White House asks people to report instances of social media censorship

By midian182 · 18 replies
May 16, 2019
Post New Reply
  1. The questionnaire was created using online form/survey builder Typeform. It asks participants for their names, contact information, social media links, and screenshots of anything they posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or elsewhere that was censored. Only US citizens and permanent residents are invited to complete the 16 questions.

    “SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies,” reads the landing page. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.”

    The questionnaire also asks if users want to sign up to the White House’s email newsletter, allowing them to be updated on Trump’s “fight for free speech” without relying on social media platforms.

    The final question, which will supposedly root out any bots, asks what year the declaration of independence was signed. It’s also noted that the White House cannot guarantee a response to submissions.

    Last month saw the president meet with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss his grievances against the platform and talk about social media in general. Before the meeting took place, Trump accused the site of “political games,” and in October he said it removed many of his followers.

    Permalink to story.

  2. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,716   +2,076

    With almost daily instances of massive privacy violations in the industry, focusing on censorship makes sense.
  3. axiomatic13

    axiomatic13 TS Maniac Posts: 210   +145

    Private companies can do whatever they like. This is not a free speech issue. Especially when it's being championed from a POTUS that has lied over 11,000 times in his 2 1/2 year tenure.
    Charles Olson, PEnnn, Will86c and 5 others like this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,150   +3,574

    "The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online."

    Ahhhhhh ..... another Trump lie, even after he tries to suppress the free speech rights of his former employee's ........ LOL
  5. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 365   +367

    Aside from Fox news does anyone listen to or take anything the Trump Administration says seriously?

    Trump and his antics makes Brexit seem like a seamless transition.
  6. Tantor

    Tantor TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +43

    Well... that's not quite correct. Private companies cannot do whatever they like.

    They cannot engage in discriminatory hiring practices based on skin color, gender, age, or religion. They are not supposed to refuse service. Remember the case of the bakery that wouldn't bake a custom cake for a homosexual wedding? The baker was willing to sell them a standard cake but wouldn't create a custom cake. It went to the supreme court, which decided that custom cakes were a form of art, and you cannot force someone to create art. Youtube, Google and Twitter cannot claim they are creating art.

    Political belief is not explicitly protected, but a strong argument can be made that it falls under religion, which is a protected category. Religion and political belief are 'philosophy of life'. This is something that atheists and a-religious people should have no problem supporting.

    But are Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter even private companies? Most would agree they are PUBLIC FORUMS because of their sheer size and the fact they use the internet, a public infrastructure which they do not own. Twitter CEO Dorsey stated to Congress that Twitter is a public forum. Because they are regarded as public forums, they are exempt from certain types of prosecution. If they claim to not be public forums, then they should not be granted those exemptions, and they should be broken up, or put under government control like the parks and public roads..

    Phone companies cannot refuse service based on what people say on phones. The postal service cannot refuse service based on what people write in letters. What makes Facebook any different? What gives them the right to riffle through people's private pages, selectively banning things they don't like?

    These corporations are like bandits that control a narrow river passage on a public river. The river funnels enormous amounts of business to them because there are no viable alternatives. Yet they deny service to some, claiming there are viable alternatives. They want it both ways.

    Social media companies aren't the only villains. Financial institutions like Paypal, Chase, and others have refused service and terminated accounts of conservatives. Universities refuse to allow conservatives to speak on campus, or make it so unsafe and difficult that it's almost impossible.

    Most of this censorship is politically motivated. It targets conservatives. It is obvious that these corporations collude against conservatives.

    The first amendment Freedom of Speech clause was created to protect political and unpopular speech. Banning speech because some find it offensive is absolutely no excuse. The principle is that all views must be allowed to be heard in the public forums, where the incorrect ones can be defeated on the merits through proper debate.

    But Facebook and other politically motivated institutions want to short-circuit the process and stifle public debate. They don't want the public to even know that there are opposing views, let alone hear them. That fact tells you they do not believe they can win the public debate. It should be cause for serious concern.

    Most multimedia companies have shut down their comment sections. They couldn't handle the overwhelming amount of conservative anger. They trivialize the anger by re-labeling it as 'hate'.

    Progressives believe they are infallible. But that was disproved by the recent Mueller Report. Mueller spent three years with a highly partisan team investigating accusations of Russian collusions and obstruction of justice. He determined there was none. If there were, he would have indicted Trump. The progressive arguments were defeated on the merits.
  7. Bullwinkle M

    Bullwinkle M TS Booster Posts: 105   +48

    Which Tech site has the greatest amount of Censorship and why?




    Other? (Name it)

    Which individuals are most likely to censor your opinion if they don't want to hear what you want to say?

    Jason Perlow @ ZDNet?


    Just Blame it on the Bots @ Techspot?

    Other? (Names?)

    Personally, I find ZDNet and Jason Perlow to be the worst, with Ryan in 2nd place

    Not quite sure what Techspot is up to

    More insight would be good!
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  8. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,001   +726

    Let's start with all those people Trump blocked on Twitter.
  9. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,001   +726

    18 U.S. Code § 227 – Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch:

    (a) Whoever, being a covered government person, with the intent to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity—
    (1) takes or withholds, or offers or threatens to take or withhold, an official act, or
    (2) influences, or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another,
    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
    (b) In this section, the term “covered government person” means—
    (1) a Senator or Representative in, or a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress;
    (2) an employee of either House of Congress; or
    (3) the President, Vice President, an employee of the United States Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, or any other executive branch employee (as such term is defined under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code).

    Facebook and Twitter, Youtube, etc are private companies.

    Just because they censor right-wing racism and White nationalism in no way allows Trump or the US government to do anything about it.

    The Christchurch massacre is a perfect example of why they must: their live feed being used to spread hate and violence/ murder.

    I stand behind social media on this.

    I do not support this president at all.
  10. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,001   +726

    The racists want attention.

    Banning them from social media for spreading their message makes them sad.

    They don't understand the 1st Amendment. It's only there to prevent CONGRESS from passing laws against free speech, religion and self expression.

    Don't blame them for not getting it. Trump claimed they were "poorly educated".
  11. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,001   +726

    Sorry but you need to actually read the first amendment.

    "Congress shall make no law..."

    Private companies are well within their right to censor, block, ban or marginalize anyone who uses their platforms to spread messages that they themselves do not endorse.

    Especially when those messages carry threats of violence, terroristic threat, intimidation, racism or bigotry.

    I fully support the constitutional rights of those social media groups and I absolutely do not support this "president" or his sycophants from Fox, Conservative talk, Diamond & Silk or any of the rest...
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,716   +2,076

    :facepalm: I really do not know where to start, so I will go bit by bit. :confused:
    Are you talking about the Colorado case? If so, please have another look at the details.

    What SCOTUS decided was that in Colorado, the state had a bias that was unconstitutional against the baker - and this is what tipped SCOTUS in favor of the baker - not, as you claim, that baking a cake was a form of art.

    This is highly speculative and at this point, not legal precedent.

    First, phone service and the postal service are almost certainly considered absolutely necessary for modern life. Fakebook and all the other "social media platforms" are not. People can just drop fakebook and use the telephone, or write a letter that they send through the postal service. Slower, yes, but gets the job done.

    Second, the postal service cannot open mail. The recipient is the only one that can do that. As well, the phone company cannot legally listen to any conversation on the phone.

    However, with the postal service, a recipient can file a form called Postal Service form 1500 "PS-1500" for short, that makes it a felony for anyone to offer something to you for sale that you find objectionable for any reason, and the postal service cannot make that determination for you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibitory_Order

    Not only that, though, you can take a threatening letter to court, or the FBI, or the postal service itself and seek injunctive relief. The same applies to similarly threatening phone calls.

    In addition, people are still free to peaceably assemble, per the 1st amendment, at any place that will lawfully allow them to do so. Even in this day and age, I think it is a difficult point of view to some how support that "social media" is indispensable to modern life.

    Also SCOTUS has ruled that 1st amendment rights do not include speech that incites violence. You will have to look that up yourself. Its out there. If any "social platform" leaves speech that incites violence on their site, they may be held legally liable if such violence manifests, or, perhaps, they may be charged with aiding terrorism.

    If a university thinks that any speaker may create an environment that is unsafe, I see no problem in them refusing to host the speaker.

    You make some great talking points, but, as I see it, the jury is still out on whether or not there is undue bias in any platform.

    Once again, 1st amendment rights do not include inciting violence.

    Thanks for your opinion, however, like I said, there are other means to organize.

    Thanks for your opinion.
    With Trump binding and gagging everyone in the matter at this point, it is difficult to separate belief from truth. When the gag no longer applies, and at some point that will happen - particularly when Mueller's employment at the justice department ends in a month or so, we might see what the truth really is.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  13. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 331   +182

    Jesus Christ...the amount of TDS with the misinformed NPC's here is astounding, as they screech nonsense to remain obedient to their Dem & MSM masters.
    clytndn likes this.
  14. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Enthusiast Posts: 80   +37

    It's not true. I live in a white house. We didn't ask for any report regarding censorship.
    Charles Olson likes this.
  15. Bullwinkle M

    Bullwinkle M TS Booster Posts: 105   +48

    Key Points:
    "Private companies are well within their right to censor, block, ban or marginalize anyone who uses their platforms to spread messages that they themselves do not endorse.

    Especially when those messages carry threats of violence, terroristic threat, intimidation, racism or bigotry."
    I am "NOT" banned from ZDNet or Anandtech for violence, terroristic threat, intimidation, racism or bigotry.

    I am banned for saying that Windows 10 is a Spyware Platform and providing evidence that it is Spyware

    Are these private companies well within their right to censor, block, ban or marginalize anyone who uses their platforms to spread messages that they themselves do not endorse?

    Does it mean they agree with and endorse Spyware?

    They have never shown ANY evidence that Windows is NOT Spyware, but only ban people who have evidence that it "IS" Spyware

    Are you saying that providing evidence of Private Companies committing Crimes is now a Crime and doing so should get you banned by the Private Companies?

    Please Elaborate!
  16. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 714   +270

    Social media sites are private businesses and public forums, whether they were intended to be or not. If the discrimination laws can force a business to sell products to whom they disagree with, then by the same virtue, neither should social media sites be allowed to ban speech that they disagree with. Good for the goose, good for the gander, right? It's really disingenuous to say one business can't discriminate, but another can. Whether left or right on the political spectrum, you can't justify or rationalize it. Is it free or not. Besides, if I'm using any of these platforms, and they're monetizing my information for their gain, I damn well should have a right to say whatever the hell I want and to not have it to be censored. That's probably a whole another argument. Censorship is a sign of apparent weakness for those who censor. Is your argument that bad that you must protect it by censoring counter arguments? Safe spaces is another point of weakness. Sure, everyone has a right to an education without harassment, but not to safeguard your arguments, beliefs, or political persuasions to scrutiny.
    clytndn likes this.
  17. ShadowDeath

    ShadowDeath TS Booster Posts: 113   +43

  18. Charles Olson

    Charles Olson TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +15

    I see no way they could use this online tool to push their propaganda ... I mean like they could not dismiss the story they don't want no one to hear about and only publish the select stories that enforce their point ! /s
    clytndn likes this.
  19. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,001   +726

    "In his written decision, Spence ordered that Phillips "cease and desist from discriminating" against gay couples, or face financial penalties, and cited Colorado state law that prohibits businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation."

    It's a state rights issue.

    If they don't like it, then they are FREE to move out of the state of Colorado.

    Move to one of those southern states that's still racist, sexist and homophobic.

    Social Media however is not bound by states rights because they are an INTERNET (trans-national) network (network of servers, databases, computers, etc).

    If these racist, sexist and homophobic states don't like these social medias then they can do what China does and block them.

    I'd love to see that happen honestly.
    Charles Olson and axiomatic13 like this.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...